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Everything posted by SequoiaWDL

  1. It depends on your mood. If the coast interests you, then Morro Bay SP, Montana de Oro SP, Oceano Dunes SRVA, and Gaviota SP are all within 3 hours drive. If you like desert camping (not in summer, of course) then Red Rock Canyon is nearby. In the Sierras I'd look in the Lake Isabella area, and in the Tehachipis to the south I'd look around Frazier Park. We had family reunions at some little horseshoe shaped campground just west of Bakersfield (Lake Webb?) that might work in the "off-season".(This message has been edited by SequoiaWDL)(This message has been edited by SequoiaWDL)
  2. I'm in the same boat with you...formally visited 2 troops, and spent some time at various events with several other troops. Here's off-the-top-of-my-head observances I made at the events: Troop A: Event is an "Activity Pin College" of sorts, with 75 or so Webelos hosted by single Troop. Unit has been around about 35 years, outgoing SM was scout on original charter. About 20 boys, mostly younger boys. After brief greeting from new SM, the boys take over the event. I notice young patrol leaders struggle keeping some of the unruly Webelos in line. Since they don't have a feeder cub pack, they use this event as a recruitment. Committee Member gives the sales pitch; seems like they have an active schedule (MC says "every year we go to... is this why they don't have older boys?), they go to nice Council camp every year, had 7 boys eagle last year (but is this an eagle mill?) SM spends better part of day talking into bluetooth stuck in his ear. This unit is on the border of a neighboring district so wasn't really an option, but good for comparison purposes. Troop B: This was a planned visit to Troop Meeting. Unit is about 35 years old, has 40 or so active boys, and adult membership is active at district and council levels. After an efficient opening and rousing troop song (with genuine esprit de corps) TG wisks our Webelos 2 den off to tour troop activities. Boys of all ages are actively taking part in the evening's events, including several Eagles. For LT camp they alternate between Council camp and OOC camps, variety is nice. Our boys enjoyed the meeting as much as the Troop's boys seemed to. Funny part: at game time SPL had a little trouble getting all the boys attention. One of our parents, seeing boy-led chaos for the first time asks "So are we going to visit other troops?" Overall, leadership at all levels is pretty solid. The only question I have (in hindsight of course) is how much HA activities the boys do. PLC hadn't finalized years scheduele yet, so I'll need to contact activities coordinator for a list to see what's on tap. Troop C: Planned visit to Troop meeting. Unit is about 30+ years old, with 25ish active boys. Good group of older scouts, well behaved and eager younger scouts, and grouchy middle scouts. Committee is meeting in next room and PLC had just presented the years schedule to the adults. I get a copy: lots of variety, and lots of BIKING. These guys like biking...a lot. Camp at Presidio, bike across Golden Gate; camp at Red Rock, go biking in desert...etc etc. Unit has been to Philmont twice in last decade, and attached VC is going next year. Troop D: Unit present at Webelos/Boy Scout camping event. Small Catholic unit (12 boys) mostly older scouts. Talking with SM, sounds like they do a lot of HA stuff. Troop E: Unit present at Webelos/Boy Scout camping event. KofC unit, 2nd largest troop in district (30ish boys). Nice gear. Bright boys. They eat well. SM says they car camp 8 or so times a year, backpack camp several times, and go to council camp annually. For the record, my son chose troop B long before we started visiting. They were hosting a Webelos/Boy Scout camping event and made a good first impression. That, and his buddy from Day Camp is going to that troop. The other parents in my den tell me their boys want to stay with their friends, so I think they're hoping I've guided my son in the right direction.
  3. Strange. I'd just soon not have retailers associate their month of commercial avarice with the Celebration of the Lord and Savior anyways.
  4. This is the link to our Council map, our district (Golden West) is the tiny one in the middle. I don't understand how this Council got carved up this way, ancient population distribution patterns I guess. There are only 14 Boy Scout units, 5 or 6 are small LDS units, and 2x Cub Units, 1 Venturing Crew, and 1 Ship. The cool thing is the council office is about 2 miles from home. http://www.seqbsa.org/districts.htm
  5. Joined as a Wolf in 1976. My mom was my den mother the 2nd year. Our den was made up of boys in our neighborhood, not based on age or rank. Mom did her best to make it fun with trips and such. The big events every year were Marching in the Christmas Parade, and District Scoutorama. We didn't sell popcorn back then for fundraising, we sold Scout-o-rama tickets at a buck a pop. In three years we went camping ONCE. My Girl Scout cousins went a lot more than that. My Brownie sister did more camping. The one camping trip was memorable for all the wrong reasons. There were 8 of us as I recall. There was no program so we just roamed around and got into mischief (stealing chromie air valve caps). The only real excitement was a 2 acre grass fire that started in our local Boy Scout Troop's campsite. Nice recruitment tool. I recently tried to remember where some of the boys from that den ended up: One I lost track of immediately because he had to repeat 5th grade and got sent to private school. Another disappeared in high school, seems he had burnt down the elementary school where our pack had met. Another boy, the last time I saw him was at our county fair. He cold-cocked a deputy near the beer gardens, and ran frantically with a parade of cops after him. Later in life I became friends with a couple of those boys, playing in a rock band together...One is still trying to make it big in Nashville. I crossed over...into being a jock. In 2004 my second grade son brought home a "Join Scouting Night" flier. I tried to tell him Cubs didn't start until third grade. So I guess things have changed. Things were pretty chaotic as CM repeatedly reminded parents that he was moving up with his son to Boy Scouts. He made good on that threat 2 weeks later. We had a Webelos Leader who knew how to run things, but the rest of us were clueless. By December our Pack of 30 boys had reduced to about 15, with only a mixed Webelos Den and Wolf Den. The next year I became Bear Den Leader, while our Pack floundered with hit-and-miss events and big recruitments with little program delivery. This year, in addition to being Webs II leader, I took on CC role. Our retention is a lot better (70% of registered boys are active) and we have successful, well attended Pack events every month, so I gives mineself (and the missus) the Politicians Cheer. Wow that was a lot!
  6. Sorry, no slight intended. Our particular store is an extremely chaotic, high traffic environment. Really not well suited for Cub age boys, anyway. BTW they did donate $40 in sausage to our cause, so that was pretty cool.
  7. Sounds like a great time...but why no Webelos I on the overnighter?
  8. We've never run a spaghetti dinner before, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night...and we have had a few successful Pancake Breakfasts, too. Different grub, same concept. We moved it up a few years ago from May to March to avoid losing boys and parental help to little league. Step 1. Committee picks date and clears it with our meeting place (school cafeteria). Chosen one fills out facilities request form with school district. 2. Once date is set, order tickets. Coordinate with local pizza parlor and printing place as our ticket comes attached with pizza parlor coupon (value matches price of ticket) 3. Request donations from restaurants, grocery stores, unnamed warehouse store, and one very well known coffee house. Chain grocery stores require 45-60 day notice and a non profit org. tax ID number, very important! 4. Another important feature: pre-sell the tickets, don't rely on walkups. Two weekends in advance in front of grocery stores or other retail places. Even Wal-Mart if you dare. And yes we sell in uniform, approved by council office. I guess we're not technically selling or endorsing a product, but our own event. (The way I see it) No one can say no to a little Tiger Cub. 5. Food committee guesses based on previous year on how much chow to buy, but will NEVER get it perfect. 6. Double and triple check with school, district office, and assigned school district cook. Get home contact numbers. 7. Make sure boys have role at event. Have Fun Here are some loverly obstacles, challenges our Pack event has had. 2005- School cook is used to pre-scrambled egg mix, but we have whole eggs. She tries cooking them in industrial steamer. Out comes green eggs. Sulfery GREEN EGGS! Ever since we've just scrambled them on the stovetop a dozen or so at a time. 2006- Crew shows up at 6AM. No one to open the school. No cook, no janitor, no one. After some frantic phone calls and some luck, the VP races down to open up for us. But still no cook shows. We figure out the industrial equipment while our waiting customers sip on coffee. Thank God for the Starbucks donation. See step number 6 above to help avoid this. Turns out the district paperwork had the correct date, but the cook was told (by district office personnel) verbally, the next day. 2007- Our Council's insurance policy with the district runs out about 10 days before our breakfast, only no one tells us until 72 hours before. Trying to coordinate between the 2 bureaucracies was a little stressful. The event itself went smoothly, except that no customers arrived until 8:30, an hour and a half after we opened. See step #4 above. Our Pancake Breakfast is a great camaraderie builder with the parents, reminds the community that Scouting is still strong, and provides us with a recruiting opportunity as picture boards of our boys in action surround the cafeteria.
  9. Webelos II leader, and (for one year only) CC. We have 2 den meetings 60-75 minutes long, followed by paperwork, info sharing, and achievement tracking. One pack meeting per month. School in our district runs early August to early June, we meet at the school (PFC CO) so our summer break is pretty short. We also have monthly outings or events, some we do every year: January-day at the snow; March-pancake breakfast, & pinewood derby, May-Minor league ball game with campout after; June-pack swim day & BBQ, daycamp, Webeloree; August- roller skating; October- raingutter regatta & pack campout. We also take advantage of Amtrak/Caltrans Kid n Trains program: $6-12 round trip Fresno-Old Town Sacramento (Feb, and or Nov.); Gold panning up in Mariposa (July); Caroling at Senior Center (Dec of course). With my Webelos Den, we've been to Webeloree both years, visited Tri-District Camporee in April, attended a Webelos Jamboree (like a MB college, only for activity pins) hosted by a nearby troop. In December there will be a Webelos/Boy Scout campout. And we've started visiting nearby troops. 2 visited with at least one more to go.
  10. Took the pack camping to Morro Bay State Park. The group camp is isolated from all the RVs in the main camp, lots of space, some nice hiking trails, nice weather....wait...forecasts said that. What really happened was a nice steady rain. So we rigged up some tarp shelters, made coffee and cocoa, and still managed to have a great time...even the first time campers (there were a few). Sunday morning we hiked up 611' Black Hill. Pointed out poison oak, tip-toed around trail scat, heard wild animals rustle the brush (was that a growl?), then reached the top for a 360 view of the whole area. Only about a third of the pack went on the trip though. One family went home ill. One family stayed for the day, but they don't camp, plus about 3 or 4 families who had signed up were no-shows. Their loss, everyone who went left with a smile on their face.
  11. Saturday was our Council's Day of Training. I attended Boy Scout Leader Specific training. Since I'm a Webelos II leader I still wear blue tabs, and so I was asked repeatedly if I was in the right class. I was also informed the IOLS portion of SM/ASM training was "planned" for the same weekend as our District Webelos/Boy Scout campout. Can I be two places at once? Sunday was spent doing pack busy work: getting a few Pack Meeting items together and last second planning, trying to collect Popcorn orders and money.
  12. At our Council Webeloree at Chawanakee last September my son woke me up at 5:30am for the 6am adventure hike. I could still taste the previous night''s Raviolis, was nauseaus and I wanted to take some alka-seltzer and go back to bed. But I crawled out of my sack, laced up my hiking boots and followed my son and the stream of other sleepy hikers to the trailhead. The full moon was hovering in the western sky and lit our trail to Shaver Lake. Fog formed off the lake and rose into the icy air. My son was yakking to any sleep-eyed kid who would listen. I told him to talk less, and listen to the sounds of nature. But I doubt anything could be heard over my huffing-and-puffing, as I dragged my fat butt up Heart Attack Hill. My son''s favorite time was a Tri-District Webelos-Boy Scout Camp event called Webelos Awareness. His future troop was the main host for the event, and he made friends with a bunch of the boys, learned a few new scoutcraft skills, and campfire songs in a driving rain. What he doesn''t remember is what he slept through: Our camp was on an exposed hilltop, and a breezy day had compromised the integrity of our budget-brand tent. With every wind gust the tent would practically collapse on us. Three times I braved the storm to shore up whatever structure I could out of our pathetic tent. My normally light-sleeping son had no clue how close I was to dragging us to the safety of our car.
  13. boyscouttrail.com has been a great resource for Cub songs, skits, and games. http://wtsmith.com/rt has had some useful advice and project ideas.
  14. I'm sorry to say I hunted down the article and read it. Rubbish. Myopic. I think you meant high school journalist. Is this rags demo real outdoorsy types or fenced in suburbanites? And am I an inadequate leader because I'm not and expert outdoorsman?
  15. Wow! And to think I was impressed with Camp Whitsetts (West LA Camp in the Southern Sierras) next week photo turnaround! http://www.whitsett.org/
  16. I wonder how many people can recall the name of any of their school board members, know who they are voting for when SB members are up for election, or name their Superintendent...
  17. Methinks those of us in the early part of this thread may have used the term "marching" a little loosely. I've been to two Day Camps, 3 Webelos camping events, Camporee and several other Day-Camp-like events, and NEVER have I seen boys marching lock-step or heard a cadence from any den...and the only ones I know aren't appropriate for any scouts of any age (thanks dad). And this thread now has 6 responses on a topic concerning the 2-5 minutes between events at Day Camp. Every night before retreat Our First Sargeant....(you fill in the blanks)
  18. Two years ago I had 11 boys (Bears) in my group, with easy 50-100 yard walks between stations. As long as the station instructor(s) had their act together, the boys were well behaved. Restlessness abounded, however, at the inevitable logjam called the shooting range. Last year I got the privledge or herding 18 Webelos around a giant riverside park with lenghty walks (1/4 mile to shooting range) occasionally with only 1 or 2 chaperones, and sometimes no parental help. Forming the boys into 2 lines and marching them station to station at least made it managable...until two had to use the restroom... then 4 more need to run back and get waterbottles... Get a read on the camp layout, get a read on the personality of the boys you're guiding, and make adjustments quickly, and don't forget why the boys are there...to have FUN!
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